May 12, 2012 11:25:12 PM
Tina Seals is going to be busy with volleyball this summer.
The former Mississippi State University volleyball coach hopes her travels and her involvement in the sport continues to draw more players to get involved and helps those already playing to improve their skills.
One way Seals will help local players will be with a skills clinic at 12:30 p.m. June 2 at the Mississippi University for Women. Snead State Community College coach Dee Ayres will work the camp that will teach basic volleyball skills for players entering seventh grade through their senior year.
The camp will be part of a volleyball-filled day. At 11:30 a.m. June 2, Seals, Mississippi Juniors and Shoals Attack, her travel volleyball clubs in Mississippi and Alabama, will celebrate Columbus High School's Jaitra Adams' decision to sign a scholarship to play volleyball at Snead State C.C. in Boaz, Ala.
"Jaitra is a good example of someone who worked hard and someone who is able to go on," said Seals, who overseas the traveling age-group teams in both states. She is a hard worker and a great great kid."
Adams was a member of the 18-and-under Shoals Attack team with Tori Ronaldi, who is from Columbus and attended Oak Hill Academy.
In all, Seals has seven teams in Mississippi Juniors and Shoals Attack that have more than 60 players. She said she has been impressed with the growth of the sport in the area in the past two years since she decided to bring back Mississippi Juniors following her retirement as MSU coach in 2008. Seals, who played volleyball at MSU, spent 12 years as coach at Northwest-Shoals C.C. in Muscle Shoals, Ala., and four year as coach at MSU. She had a 64-83 record at her alma mater.
Seals continues to teach at East Mississippi Community College. She realized she didn't want to leave volleyball behind, so she opted to re-form the Golden Triangle Volleyball Club and the Mississippi Juniors, which started in 2004. In 2008, USA Volleyball honored Seals for her efforts to promote club volleyball with the Robert L. Lindsay Meritorious Service Award for the USVBA Delta Region.
Seals has continued to see an increase in the level of participation in the sport in the past two years. She said it is crucial for volleyball players to remain involved in the sport throughout the year because it is such a skill-related sport. She also said the high school volleyball seasons in the region conflict with the college volleyball season, so coaches tend to do the bulk of their recruiting at club tournaments.
Seals said the club exposure has helped several of the players in the club earn attention. Starkville High's Kris Carr was selected to attend a High Performance Camp, which targets the top 40 players in the region, in the state of Arkansas. She said several other players in both clubs, including Kaitlin Wilson, of Tupelo, also were selected to play in age-group High Performance Camps.
Not only has Seals seen an increase in the number of players in the area playing the sport, but she also has seen a number of coaches get involved. Heritage Academy volleyball coach Elizabeth Salstrand is one of the coaches who is helping Seals with her club teams. Kacy Holsonback, of South Lamar (Ala.) High, Jeanne Sumrall, Jonathan Sumrall, Jonathan Thomas, and Ashley Coffman also coach with the club teams.
The clinic is open to all players in the area. The cost is $25, and players can register at 12:30 p.m. at MUW's Stark Recreation Complex. The clinic will last three to four hours. For more information, email seals at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Seals said she also will run satellite camps in Florida, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Alabama this year. She said she will run another skills camp July 9-11 at MUW, which is the home for Mississippi Juniors. She also said she is available to do lessons for groups of six to eight players in grades four on up in the mornings. For more information about those opportunities, contact Seals at her email address listed above.
Seals said her passion for volleyball allows her to want to stay so busy so she can help give back to a sport that helped her accomplish so many things.
"I reason I am so passionate is volleyball paid for my engineering degree to get a scholarship," Seals said. "Volleyball is such a skill-related game that this just give me another opportunity to work with other players who have the same goals."
Adam Minichino is the Sports Editor for The Commercial Dispatch.
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